Amelia held Daniel’s hand in the car as Alex drove them to the opening of the museum. Everything Queen Imelda taught her yesterday ran through her head. She had put on an empire-waisted dress of teal that stopped just below her knee. To her surprise, Floyd had found matching heels and a silver clutch for her to carry. The weather was pleasant enough she did not need a coat or gloves. That morning, a team of professionals entered their apartment at six to prepare her. They had given her a manicure, pedicure, and had her hair and makeup done. Daniel settled on the couch drinking coffee, watching everything happen.
“I had no idea all that was needed for my mother to go into the public,” he commented a few minutes into their drive.
“Me either,” she answered, drawing a chuckle from him.
“Did you enjoy it?” She heard the worry in his voice, if she said no he would think she didn’t like being his mate.
“To be honest, it was a bit unnerving. So many people were crowded around me. I know they belong to your mother, so maybe I could interview people for my team? People, I would be more comfortable around,” she suggested, and he gave her a bright smile.
“I assume you want Kylie?”
“I always want Kylie, but she is a fashion designer, not my stylist. I want to use her clothing as much as possible though,” she replied feeling guilty to not be wearing a dress Kylie had made for her.
“I can talk with Floyd about getting approved people for you to pick from. We have to be careful about who you choose because they need to be assigned to secrecy.” Amelia leaned her head against his shoulder before popping her head up again worrying she had gotten makeup on his suit jacket. Checking his shoulder she saw nothing transferred to his navy blue suit.
“We are here,” Nick announced from the front seat. He had been tapped as another guard to watch over them. No one knew if the threat to Amelia would resurface now that the news of Lord Watson’s daughter’s return became national news.
“Ready?” Daniel whispered and she nodded. She loved museums and genuinely was looking forward to seeing the new exhibits.
“Alex,” Daniel said, Alex nodded and parked the car. Nick and Alex got out first checking for safety before opening the door for Daniel to exit. He leaned down and helped her out of the car, to her shock there were reporters snapping photos left and right of her and Daniel.
“Prince Daniel, congratulations on finding your mate!” A reporter with sandy brown hair called. Daniel nodded with a smile on his face holding her hand. He tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow guiding her through the crowds. Amelia gave smiles to everyone but said nothing. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing and be misquoted in the press. That had been one thing Queen Imelda repeatedly warned her about.
“Prince Daniel, Lady Amelia welcome to West Woods Natural History Museum.” A balding man greeted them. He had bright gray eyes, quite a bit shorter than Daniel, almost Amelia’s height if she were, to be honest.
“Mr. Daily,” Daniel greeted the man with a smile. Mr. Daily dipped into a bow for both of them. Amelia followed his lead letting him speak.
“Thank you for inviting us on such an exciting day,” Daniel continued looking down at Amelia with confusion in his eyes.
“I am excited to show you and your mate around,” Mr. Daily replied, if he noticed their interaction he said nothing.
“Did you redo the whole museum or only sections of it?” she asked interested in what they did to the place.
“The whole museum has refreshed exhibits. Some of them have the same items but presented in a new way and we have more interactive exhibits. You can make some of them move, there are screens that explain about the animals or items. We’ve also made the aisles wider to allow our less mobile guests access to the place,” Mr. Daily explained leading them inside. Amelia stayed on Daniel’s arm but she was itching to get a good look at the displays. She didn’t remember the last time she had a chance to go to a museum for fun.
“I’ll show you around the museum and then we will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Afterward, we will open the museum up to those invited for the ceremony and host a small luncheon afterward.” Mr. Daily walked them into the main hall and Amelia came to a stop. She looked up to see the domed room bathed in the morning light. The place was beautiful, the marble floors gleamed.
“You like?” Daniel whispered into her ear. She nodded and lost herself for a moment in the beautiful quiet of the place.
“Do many people come here?” she asked Mr. Daily once she’d had her fill.
“We see about a thousand people walk through those doors every four hours. The summer we are busier because the children are home for the summer.”
“Wow, do you do tours?” she asked, letting him lead them into the first exhibit. This one she knew had to be one of the most popular, it had all the dinosaur bones.
“Yes, we run tours every half hour. Many schools come here for field trips too,” he added stopping in front of a massive Tyrannosaurus Rex. Amelia let Mr. Daily’s words wash over her as she looked around. She noticed there were over twenty finished skeletons, something that shocked her.
“Are all their bones here or did you have to make some of them?” she asked when he paused in his explanation of how they removed, cleaned, repaired, and put back the bones.
“Some of them we’ve had to make their bones. You can tell because they are whiter than the original bones. We do this so the skeletons can stand on their own. You can see the process explained on this video screen here,” Mr. Daily explained, pointing to an interactive monitor. Amelia went over with Daniel at her side and pressed play. A five-minute video played, the two of them watching intently.
“This is an amazing exhibit. If they all look like this I know you will get more visitors than before,” she told Mr. Daily once the video ended. Mr. Daily gave her a bright smile and proceeded to walk them through the museum. Her favorite exhibit was the precious gems and on display, they had one of the tiaras from the olden days. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the pink jewels studding the tiara with diamonds scattered throughout.
“You like it?” Daniel asked he placed a gentle hand on her back. In public, they had to keep their intimate moments to a minimum. No one needed a scandal when their relationship was so new.
“It is beautiful,” she whispered, she didn’t feel she could use her normal voice in such a quiet place.
“You’ll have one made specifically for you once you are my wife,” he shared, she turned to look him in the eye.
“Yes. You will get to help design it. It is a tradition. My sister designed hers when she was introduced to society as an eligible young lady. My mother had hers made when she and my father became engaged,” he explained, she smiled thinking about what she would want hers to look like. Pink was one of her favorite colors, but she liked the look of sapphires or emeralds too.
“You have plenty of time and will have a team of professionals helping you design it.” Daniel put her hand in the crook of his arm walking her back to the front of the building.
“Prince Daniel, Lady Amelia you will sit here,” Mr. Daily instructed pointing to a few rickety looking chairs on a dais.
“Once I introduce you, Prince Daniel you will speak and then cut this ribbon with Lady Amelia,” Mr. Daily explained holding out scissors for Amelia to hold. She held onto them and sat with Daniel. She hadn’t known he would be making a speech.
“It won’t take long I promise,” Daniel assured her when he settled next to her. Amelia nodded and noticed Nick and Alex were standing to either side of the dais to keep watch. They’d followed them through the museum without saying a word. Amelia almost forgot about them until they’d turn a corner and she’d catch a glimpse of Alex’s stern face. Amelia watched the doors opened and a crowd of nicely dressed people began to filter in. It took twenty minutes for the seats to fill. Amelia saw Kylie in the crowd along with Lord Watson and Lady Valerie. Sitting with them were two others, a boy and a girl. Amelia wondered if they were her half brother and sister.
“Are they who I think they are,” she whispered to Daniel, he followed her line of sight and nodded.
“Gwen and Caleb. I’m sure we’ll be introduced after the speeches,” he whispered back, taking her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. She smiled and waited while Mr. Daily made his speech to introduce Daniel to the crowd. Polite applause met him as he stood to speak. Amelia did her best to listen, but the glare she was getting from Lady Valerie made it hard for her to stay focused on Daniel. Kylie looked uncomfortable and sat on the opposite side of Lord Watson away from his second family.
“Now Lady Amelia and I will cut the ribbon, officially opening the museum to the public,” Daniel announced, grabbing her attention. Amelia stood handing Daniel the scissors. Together they walked down the steps to the ribbon blocking the rest of the museum from the people. Daniel took her hands, standing behind her. They snipped the ribbon to a round of thunderous applause.
“The museum is officially open!” Daniel announced with a booming voice.